Garlic scientifically known as Allium sativum is a plant species belonging to Allium which is an onion genus. The garlic species is closely related to other plant species including leeks, shallots hives and onions. Garlic has been used since the ancient times for food flavoring and as a traditional medicine. China is the leading producer of garlic in the world. The garlic plant is bulbous and grows up to a height of 1.2 meters in height. The plant produces hermaphrodite flowers that are pollinated by bees and other insects. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, garlic has a hardiness level of eight. The bulb part of the plant is the one that is mostly used. Most garlic plants are divided into some fleshy portions known as cloves. Garlic cloves can either be consumed raw or cooked for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Garlic cloves are characterized by a tart, spicy flavor that gets savory and sweet when cooked. The leaves, and flowers on the head of a garlic plant are also edible and are occasionally consumed but while they are still tender and young.
Benefits And Uses Of Garlic
Garlic has economic value to the countries that produce it in large quantities.However, the consumption of garlic has a high amount of nutritional value since it contains very little calories. Garlic is popularly known for its ability to work as a natural antibiotic. Garlic contains a compound known as Allicin which is believed to possess medicinal properties. Supplements of garlic are known to boost the immune system in fighting diseases such as common cold and boost athletic performance, heart function and helps reduce blood pressure. Garlic is popularly used for the culinary purpose as a food additive or spice, especially as a seasoning or dressing.Garlic cloves are also used in the flavoring of oils which in turn are used to season all types of vegetables, bread, pasta, and meat. In Europe garlic that has been slightly smoked is becoming a popular cuisine used to stuff game and poultry meat while in Asia they use garlic leaves to make a popular vegetable. Garlic is also used as a preservative for meat and fish whereas the viscid liquid between garlic cloves is used as an adhesive to mend porcelain and glass.
Cultivation And Production Of Garlic
Garlic is an easy plant to grow which can be planted throughout the year in climates that are mild. Most if not all garlic cultivation is proliferated asexually through the separate planting of garlic cloves on the ground, however, sexual proliferation of garlic is possible. Garlic plants can be grown nearby provided that space is left to allow bulbs to mature thus can be grown in deep containers. Garlic mostly thrives in sunny regions which have well-drained soils that are loose and dry.Large bulbs whose cloves can be easily separated are the best to use for planting during the cultivation of garlic. In 2015 the world production of garlic was estimated at 25 million with China constituting of 80% of the total production. India came in second while other countries accounted for less than 0.5 million tons per year. In the United States, production of garlic is mostly focused in Gilroy, California dubbed as ‘the garlic capital of the World’.
Top Garlic Producing Countries
China is the leading producer of garlic accounting for 20.0 million tons followed by India with 1.25 million tons per year. The other three top producing countries of garlic include; South Korea, Egypt, and Russia producing 0.35, 0.26 and 0.26 million tons respectively.